Use Less Plastic


Swap plastic shopping bags, water bottles and coffee cups for reusable options and you will cut your carbon pollution several times a day. Plus, this will reduce the amount of plastic pollution in our oceans.



Plastic is made from oil and the process uses a lot of energy, producing one kilo of plastic releases around five kilos of carbon dioxide. Simply avoiding plastic-wrapped goods can save 125 kg of carbon a year.

There are other benefits. Plastic does not biodegrade and only 9% of plastic is recycled. Every piece of plastic ever made is still on the planet somewhere. If we use less plastic, we prevent plastic pollution from ending up in our oceans and protect marine life.


Use less plastic

  • Use a reusable shopping bag
  • Drink tap water instead of buying bottled water
  • Choose non-plastic wrapped items where possible
  • Swap cling film for tupperware

Use even less plastic

  • Get a set of reusable produce bags for fruit and vegetables
  • Shop from your local greengrocer or market where you’ll find loose fruit and vegetables
  • Buy cleaning products in bulk and refill smaller containers (this uses about 84% less plastic)
  • Stop using disposable straws or cutlery

Go plastic-free

  • Avoid synthetic clothes (they shed plastic microfibers)
  • Look for plastic-free bathroom goods – from bars of soap to bamboo toothbrushes
  • Find your closest unpackaged or bulk-buy supermarket
  • Get your milk delivered by a local milkman


Producing one kilo of plastic releases around five kilos of carbon dioxide:

Mike Berners Lee, How bad are bananas? 2020. p118

Avoiding plastic-wrapped goods can save 125 kg of carbon a year:


9% of plastic is recycled:

Science Advances

Impact metric calculations:

We averaged the data from the various forms of plastic listed in Mike Berners Lee’s 2020 version of How Bad Are Bananas?, showing that the mean carbon emissions generated in creating 1kg of plastic is 3.675 kgCO2.

In the UK, each person generates 34.21 kilograms of plastic packaging waste per year (Statsica, 2017).

Thus, over the two month pledge period the average person could save 20.95 kg CO2 if they succeeded in completely cutting out their plastic packaging.

We interpret the pledge responses in the following ways:

  • Convenience as their main priority - double the average plastic packaging waste.
  • They pick the lower-plastic options where possible - average plastic packaging waste.
  • They go out of their way to find packaging free goods - 25% of average plastic packaging waste.